NTUC Enterprise to buy Kopitiam: How Kopitiam King Lim Bee Huat built up his empire

Mr Lim Bee Huat, seen here in an old file photo, started working as a coffee boy when he was nine. Today, his Kopitiam Investment has foodcourts, coffee shops and hawker centres islandwide, including flagship outlet Lau Pa Sat.
Mr Lim Bee Huat, seen here in an old file photo, started working as a coffee boy when he was nine. Today, his Kopitiam Investment has foodcourts, coffee shops and hawker centres islandwide, including flagship outlet Lau Pa Sat.ST FILE PHOTO

In 1989, Kopitiam founder Lim Bee Huat made headlines when he paid $2.1 million for a coffee shop in Bishan Street 11.

People thought he was crazy for spending so much on a Housing Board coffee shop, but he silenced his critics as he grew his Kopitiam empire by acquiring more coffee shops in Rochor Centre, Victoria Street, Clementi, Whampoa and Toa Payoh.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2018, with the headline 'How Kopitiam King built up his empire'. Print Edition | Subscribe